Parents Are Our First Gods:
By Jayaram Rajaram
Narrate the following story to your child:
Lord Shiva and his beloved wife Parvati were sitting in their celestial home Mt. Kailash with their children Ganesha (The elephant God) and Murugan (Karthikeya). Lord Shiva decided to test his children and told them that the person who goes around the universe 3 times and comes back first will be the winner of the day’s competition.
Murugan immediately whizzed away on his peackock (Murugan’s personal vahana) , while Ganesha sat happily eating laddoos and modhakas (Kozhakattais or white dumplings with sweet coconut filling). When Shiva asked Ganesha, why he hadn’t started on his meek vahana the mouse (Rat)? Ganesha slowly finished eating his favourite goodies and walked three times around Shiva and Parvati.
After walking around his parents, Ganesha bows down, prostrates and tells Shiva and Parvati that his parents are his universe. Shiva is mighty pleased with Ganesha’s intelligence, wit and knowledge and hugs him. Murugan comes back to find Ganesha happily sitting there. He wonders allowed how Ganesha’s mouse could have gone around the Universe faster than his peacock? Shiva explains to Murugan what Ganesha had done and declares him the winner and as an award, grants a boon to Ganesha that he will be the remover of all obstacles for anyone who prays to him. Hence people in India pray to Ganesha first for success of any task and even before any Puja.
Now tell your children that your parents are your universe and mean the world to you because without them you (the parent) will not be here. The very reason for our existence is our parents.
Ask them how would they feel if they were alone in this world without Amma (Mom) and Appa (Dad)? Tell them many children live in orphanages without their parents and that we can visit them and play with them sometime. Take your child to these orphanages once in a while to make them feel grateful for what they have.
Merely telling our kids this is not enough and as parents we must live this truth by caring for both (yours and your spouse’s) our elderly parents (if they are still around) daily. Your kids learn more by watching you rather than listening to you.
Tell them that in India there is a lofty saying: ‘Mata, Pita, Guru, Deivam, indicating the importance of ones parents, teacher and God’.
While you should not ask your children to respect you, you can tell them that you set the rules and are often strict with them so they grow up to be good human beings. Parent by example and communicate regularly by referring to the Ganesha story above.
We must do our parenting duty and serve our own parents well without expecting our kids to take care of us in our old age. Parenting and life is all about giving and duty for the sake of duty. What we get is merely a byproduct of what we give and this is the Nishkama Karma philosophy in the Bhagavad Gita.
As per Indian parenting styles and even Chanakya’s advise we must love our children and spend as much time with our child from 0-5 years, be strict and teach them right from wrong between 5 years and 16 years and then be their friend after that. There is a lot of wisdom in age old Indian traditions and philosophy that we must take advantage of.
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